Reviewing and renewing Biblical faith through story and study

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Rachael Prays

Six year old Rachael listened as Dad told a bedtime story. It was a Bible story about a lady who obeyed God’s prophet, Elijah, by filling lots of jars with oil. It was a miracle story.
When the story was finished Dad asked, “What do you think we can learn from this story?”
Rachael’s two brothers were older than her. One of them said, “If we ask God for help, He will help us!”
“Yeah,” said her other brother, “we can ask God for anything and He will give it to us.”
“If it’s good for us,” Dad said. “God answers every prayer. Sometimes He says, ‘yes’ sometimes ‘no’ and sometimes ‘wait’.”
Her brothers were both smiling, but Rachael didn’t feel happy. After saying their prayers, Rachael hugged Dad and climbed off her brother’s bed. She went to her room and climbed under her blankets.
Rachael thought for a long time, trying to remember when she had got an answer to prayer. She thought and thought. She couldn’t think of one time. Not once.
Later that night, still awake, Rachael heard Dad walk past.
“Dad?” she called.
The footsteps stopped and the door creaked open. A stream of light cut through the darkness of the room.
“Yes, Rach?” Dad said as he came into the room.
“Does God really answer our prayers?” Rachael asked.
“Yep!” Dad said in a happy voice. “He’s pretty good that way!”
Rachael didn’t say anything. Dad realized something big was going on in Rachael’s head. He sat down next to Rachael on the bed.
“Why do you ask?” Dad asked carefully.
“Well,” Rachael whispered, “God never gives me anything I pray for.”
“Really?” Dad asked.
“Yeah,” Rachael said. If the lights had been on, Dad would have seen a little tear trickle down Rachael’s cheek. She wiped it away.
“Well,” Dad continued cautiously, “what have you asked for that God hasn’t given you?”
“I dunno,” Rachael said.
“But this seems pretty serious,” Dad said. “Surely there must be something you are wanting from God that He isn’t giving you.”
“Not really,” Rachael answered. “I just can’t remember any time I prayed and God gave me what I prayed for.”
“Hmmm...” Dad said thoughtfully. “Well, what would you like right now?”
“Nothing,” Rachael said. “I’ve got everything I want.”
“Surely, there must be something you would like to ask God for?”
“nuh uh,” Rachael said.
“Nothing?” Dad asked again.
“Nothing.” Rachael stated.
“Ok,” Dad said, finding Rachael’s hands in the dark. “Quick, close your eyes!” Dad folded his big hands around Rachael’s little hands.
“Why?” Rachael asked in confusion.
“Just close ‘em,” Dad said. “We’re gonna pray!”
“Dear Jesus,” Dad started praying. Rachael quickly closed her eyes. “Rachael wants nothing. So, when we open our eyes, please give Rachael lots and lots of nothing! Amen.”
As Dad said amen, he reached over and flipped on the light switch. The room filled with light as Dad shouted, “Look! Look at it all, Rachael!”
Rachael was laughing. “Look at what, Dad?”
“Nothing!” Dad said, overjoyed. “Lots and lots of nothing! It’s just what we prayed for!”
Rachael knew what Dad meant. He was often a bit silly, but she understood him. If she asked for nothing, she’d get it! Rachael thought to herself, From now on, I’m going to pray about things all the time, so God can answer my prayers!
Rachael hugged her dad. “I guess I need to pray about more things, right Dad?” she asked.
“Yup,” Dad answered. “Give God a chance to answer!”
A few weeks later, Rachael and Dad were in a beautiful place called Mt Gambier in South Australia.
Dad had been asked to speak to the youth at a camp-meeting and it was Rachael’s turn to tag along. Dad let Rachael choose something she would like to see on the way home. She chose the Blue lake in Mt Gambier. Rachael and Dad had walked all the way around the lake that afternoon.
After dinner, Rachael and Dad went to the sinkhole to see the possums. The sinkhole is a collapsed limestone cave. A river, flowing under the ground, had eaten away the limestone over the years and the ground fell into the river. Now there is a big round hole. Someone built a staircase and planted gardens in the large sinkhole. People can go down into the sinkhole, see the gardens and the water, and feed the possums that come out at night.
It was still light when they arrived. Dad sat on a bench to wait for the possums. Rachael ran around the various paths in the sinkhole exploring ever nook and crevice. It was a very cool place. Finally, the sun went down and the possums came out. Rachael and Dad fed them grapes and Dad took some photos of the little furry creatures. They were really cute.
An hour or so later, Rachael was fast asleep in the motel.
“Rachael,” Dad shook her gently to wake her up. “I can’t find my wallet anywhere. I have cleaned out the car, looked through every bag and turned this motel room upside down! It’s not here. We can’t make it home without my wallet.”
“What are we going to do?” Rachael asked.
“I think it fell out of my pocket when I sat on that bench in the sinkhole,” Dad said. “It’s the only place left that I haven’t looked! Hop into the car, we’ve gotta go look.”
They were nearly finished with the 10 minute drive to the sinkhole when Dad said, “Rachael, I have an idea. You know how you said God never gives you anything you ask for because you don’t have anything you need?”
“Yeah,” Rachael answered.
“Well, I really need that wallet,” Dad said seriously. “We should pray and ask God to help us find it. Would you please pray, now?”
Rachael was surprised by her dad’s request. But not for the reason you may be thinking!
“Dad,” Rachael said as they pulled into the parking lot at the sinkhole, “I can pray again if you want. But, I’ve already prayed about it twice while you were driving.”
Dad turned off the car and turned to look at Rachael in the gentle light coming from the street lamps.
“Really, Rach?” he asked. “You’ve already been praying about it?”
“Yep,” Rachael said. “But I can pray again, out loud, for you.” And then she did.
When Rachael opened her eyes after the prayer, Dad was staring at her.
“What?” she said.
“I love you,” Dad said, smiling.
“I love you too, Dad,” Rachael said. “Let’s go look for the wallet!”
Rachael and Dad jumped out of the car, went down the long staircase into the sinkhole and, with their flashlight, found Dad’s wallet under the bench.
When they got back to the car, Dad said, “Rach, Could you pray and thank Jesus for helping us.”
“Ok,” Rachael said. “Dear Jesus, thank you so much for helping us find Dad’s wallet. And thank you for giving me something to pray about. Amen!”